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A Separate Peace Essay

In the novel, A Separate Peace, by John Knowles the question is presented “what is a true friend?” The author challenges the question by manifesting two main characters, Finny and Gene, to have a type of rivalry relationship. Finny is a self-confident, outgoing, and athletic person. Awhile on the other hand Gene is quiet, competitive, and intelligent person. Gene gains jealous thoughts which in the end lead their friendship too gradually to fall apart. The author creates a challenge that frustrates both Finny and Gene to test both side of their relationship. As an example the author shows Finny’s fall in the climax of the book is due to Gene being jealous of him which then leads to Finny’s tragic injury.”I was not of the same quality as he. I couldn’t stand this…” (Knowles 52). Gene was surrounded with depression and major guilt. I feel that, with friendship there is always going to be envious feelings towards the other party no matter what, but not to a point of possibly injuring them or hurting them really bad.

Another incident is when Gene wears Finny’s clothes while he is recovering from his injury. This brings out the thought that Gene missed Finny and he had a feeling of loneness, but however he is also replacing him in his athletics.”Listen, pal, if I can’t play sports, you’re going to play for me” (Knowles 76). Due the past altercations, Gene will play for Finny, not only because he was the second best player but Finny was injured. So I guess you can say he qualifies for his replacement. This shows that in a friendship or relationship, when two friends have had an argument in the past that has lead to loneliness, an empty feeling, and non communication, but in the end this is the factors that makes a friendship stronger when they finally talk again for the first time in a long period of time and they both feel the love and welcoming type of feeling.

The last incident that occurs shows the true feelings of friendship illustrated by the author is, this is when Finny falls down the stairs and he breaks his leg for the second time. But sadly in the end e eventually dies in surgery when the doctor begins his procedure on Finny’s leg to try to fix it. The doctor then explains that the marrow of the bone escaped and went throughout his bloodstream leading to his heart killing him. Gene didn’t cry for one reason, when he was at Finny’s funeral, he felt as if this was his own.”I could not escape a feeling that this was my own funeral, and you do not cry in that case”(Knowles 184).

Gene is mad at himself for endangering Finny’s life by bouncing and unbalancing the tree branch as Finny leaped out towards the water and in the end unintentionally ending his Finney’s life. John Knowles wrote the sad story of when friends obtain the feelings of envy or jealousy, on their journey to discover the true meaning of what they thought was a true friend. Their jealous cravings lead them to their tragedy and this is the major factor that brought their friendship to a end. The question “What is a true friend?” can only be answered in your opinion for there is no true definition of true friends because everyone is different and therefore think differently and has a different opinion on the subject.

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